What Happened to the Bennetts

Source: DRC via NetGalley (PENGUIN GROUP Putnam, G.M. Putnam’s Sons)
Pub. Date: March 29, 2022
Synopsis: Goodreads

Why did I choose to read this book?

I’ve never read a story quite like this one before. The idea of an entire family having to go into witness protection, especially in the age of social media, was an interesting puzzle that I wanted to see the author solve. Additionally, I would be lying if the tagline “Sometimes justice is a one-man show” didn’t make me say it out loud in my movie announcer voice, which made me laugh, which made me request the book. It seemed serious but over the top in an action movie kind of way a la Enemy of the State.

What is this book about?

A family gets carjacked and then a member of that family is killed in the scuffle, causing a situation where they are wrapped up in drug family drama. The FBI arrives in the middle of the night just after the event and hustles them off into witness protection, because the men involved in the car jacking/shooting were high ups in the local drug ring and the FBI want the Bennetts to testify once everyone is caught and arrested. When they arrive at the safehouse they are provided with safe phones and laptops, and the dad starts looking up info online. He discovers that their “babysitters” aren’t giving them correct information, and decides to find a way to handle this himself, for his family’s sake.

What is notable about the story?

This story goes VERY fast. I finished this book in like, 3 days, and it only took that long because I had to sleep and go to work. The short chapters plus the nonstop action made for an exciting experience. You will not want to stop, you’ll always be asking “what’s next?!?!?!”

For those pet lovers in the audience, there is a dog in this story and at the risk of spoiling you I would rather give you the heads up to say that the dog does not die. That was a major stressor for me and there are enough other things in the story to stress/excite you that knowing the dog is okay in the end isn’t going to take away from your experience.

There is a set of chapters after Jason Bennett (the dad) decides to trick his handlers and go to solve the case himself to set his family free from WITSEC that make the story feel like you are playing Grand Theft Auto. It was an interesting series of events and as long as you don’t think too hard about what’s happening and just enjoy the ride, it’s pretty cool.

Was anything not so great?

I didn’t have a lot of quibbles with this one, but I think if I had to say something it would be that there was a TON of repetition in the language. Since grief plays such a huge roll in the character development I get that repetition has to exist because when you are grieving fresh trauma, your brain passes over it to confirm it is real over and over again, like a wave over rocks, until it smoothes out. But it got to the point where I could just read the first sentence of each paragraph and know what was going on. If I got to a point where I didn’t recognize something, I went back and reread for context. That’s part of the reason I finished this book so quickly: I didn’t have to read a big chunk of it. I would have finished quickly anyway, but as a budding author myself I have learned through reading that you have to be careful about saying the same thing over and over again using different words, because your readers will start to just gloss over it.

I guess now that I’m thinking about it another thing was the twist. You think you’ve discovered the twist, but then you get to The Twist (TM) and it felt like it was REEEEEEAAALLLLY reaching. I like reading a book where I don’t see things coming, but this felt like I would have never seen it coming, which made it difficult to believe that the characters would have ever reached that conclusion on their own with the information they had. This is a small note though, because this is one of those books that is like a Jason Bourne movie: just enjoy the action and don’t ask too many questions that begin with “how” and you’ll have a ton of fun.

What’s the verdict?

I’m handing out 4 stars on Goodreads because this is a book that will sell you the whole seat BUT YOU’LL ONLY NEED THE EEEDDDDGGGGEEE and I love fast-paced thrillers now because I’m a middle-aged basic bitch. If you’re looking for a similar read, go pick this one up. You won’t be disappointed.


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